The Same Thing All Over Again

Okay, folks, I know I’ve seemed out of it lately.  If it weren’t for the comics going out every so often, then everybody would think I’d fallen off the edge of the earth.

While I’m waiting for my mister to make his way home from Urbana, I think I’ll type awhile.  It doesn’t do me much good to go to bed before him, I wake up when he gets there anyway.

I’ve been a TA for 7th graders for a month now.  The job is in the Substitute category, but yesterday we learned the regular assistant will not be able to come back to her job.  She is needed at home as a caregiver for her husband.
The permanent position was offered to me, but I do like the Nod-or-No of Substitute work, so I turned it down.
I did offer to stay until another person is hired, as long as I get Thursdays off so I can do church childcare and go to my Needlework Group.
Looks likely to be working here another couple weeks or so.

I’m beginning to see the wearing thin of my resolve.  I come home looking like I did when I was in 7th grade.  My cuticles are pulled and bleeding; the thread of a hem is unraveled and needed mending; hairs on my neck are yanked out, leaving little red bumps.

And the crisis of the combination lock—oh my word.

One of the boys I’m working with has learning differences and so has permission to use a padlock and key on his locker.  For some reason, there was no lock in place this morning.  Being Junior High, we figure some other kid came along and jerked it loose or something.
Anyway, nothing was missing from his locker, and a teacher let him borrow a combination lock, which he gets confused when he tries to work it.  Little do they know I would be no better.

As soon as the little round thing was placed in my hand, I got bad vibes.  All the horrible memories rushed in front of my eyes, so forceful I got dizzy.  All the lockers at schools and jobs.  All the times I have tried to make the dial go round and stop at the proper little mark.  I’ve always thought it’s because I’m left-handed, have astigmatisms in both eyes, but my brain just don’t make a connection.  Like the years younger than me student, it is much easier for me to keep track of a key.

But there was a job to do, and limited time before first bell.
We got the books for his morning classes and closed the door.

At lunch time, it happened.
Neither he nor I could turn the knob correctly right or left.

He was worried about lunch line.

I was worried about saving face—
I’m grown up and supposed to know what to do.

The girl at the next locker offered to spin the dial while I read the numbers aloud.  She got it open in seconds.

We got to the cafeteria and he took his seat.

I was hyperventilating and almost collapsed in the Teacher’s Room.  Part of it was because I was really hungry, but I was so embarrassed to admit I don’t know how to work a combination lock.

One of the 7th grade teachers has gotten to know me a little and asked what was wrong.  I explained about the combination lock and my brain lock.

She patted me on the shoulder and said she has a regular padlock with key we can borrow until Monday.  And she told the Resource Teacher to be sure to send home a message about replacement.

Our next hurdle was getting the combination lock off the locker again after lunch.
There was a boy who had apparently witnessed the earlier mini-crisis, so he held out his hand for the slip of paper with the numbers on it and worked the lock with his other thumb.  He had it open in seconds without saying a word.
‘My’ student and I watched with mouths agape at such talent. 

After such an eventful morning, we would have hoped for a quiet afternoon.
Not to be.  In Math class two of ‘our’ students had lost their homework—the very papers we had tutored in Study Hall and checked every answer.
Why they were not in proper folders is anybody’s guess.

Percentage points lost for late work tomorrow.

Ah, yes, 7th grade.  I went through it once myself, then again with each of my sons.

I have gotten older, but not much smarter.

~~love and Huggs, Diane

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5 Responses to The Same Thing All Over Again

  1. momma says:

    It sounds like you sabotage yourself with the combination lock business. What I mean is you had trouble before with them so now you expect to have the same trouble again. You are older now and should be able to take a deep breath and figure it out without letting what happened before panic you. Hopefully you can master this and move on to the next challenge because I know you can.

  2. Margie says:

    I know the lock episode has been stressful for you,
    but I enjoyed a good chuckle and could feel your pain!
    I, too, hate combination locks- and they can quickly make me feel inadequate.
    If I have to open them under pressure, forget it!

    Thanks for the story and the laugh!!

  3. MrsDoF says:

    Yes, Momma. I remember the story of the engine that could.

  4. Melessa says:

    I wouldn’t do 7th grade again for anything, and am dreading the four times I will endure it with each of my children.

  5. Jayne says:

    I think there’s a special place in heaven reserved for middle school teachers. One of my daughters teaches 7th grade, and although she has a few “challenges” each day, she loves her job. No day is ever quite the same, and I think that’s part of the appeal.

    In your case, thankfully it’s only for a little while longer, and you can do anything for a little while.